Location: Harbour Café Bar
Walk: 0.4m (0.6km). Short.
Keeper: Phillip Page
From without the mean exterior of the internally brilliant Theatre Royal
wander down the hill until you get to a crossroads with a big Sally
Ann church on the corner. Turn left here, stroll down past the printers
where they produce sensitive government documents like blank MOT certificates
and Road Tax Discs.
Cross here and wander down the road at the side of the stone spired
church, Margate’s mosque, and turn left. There used to be a college
where Iceland and similar ugly chain stores stand and, after that, a
great open space used for car-parking. It gave the town a great sense
of scale, in a similar style to Ramsgate when there was empty ground
where the Argyle Centre now stands.
Stroll past the old printing works, now the office of the local papers,
the ‘Times’ and ‘Gazette’. Both used to be very
average local papers until the arrival of a new editor, who’s
brought them more up to speed, particularly when it comes to the arts.
At the end of the road cross the street and go down New Street between
the pharmacy and India House. The chemist used to be in the old town,
and its previous site is now the Community Pharmacy Gallery. India House
is a delightful lump of colonial styling, built in 1767 in imitation
of a house in Calcutta. It’s been a solicitors’ office for
decades, the only one I know with battlements.
Further along New Street is the rear of the Baptist Church which doesn’t
look as if it could possibly be part of the eccentric tiny frontage
in Cecil Square. Then an odd collection of buildings dating way back,
old stables and the now closed New Inn which was once Margate coach
house with stables opposite, and even a slaughterhouse where there's
At the end of the street take a right into the High Street and walk
down the hill past some of the most interesting small shops in the town.
As you go along you'll see our tiny harbour come into sight, the bright
Droit House and at low tide a hint of the Margate Spur, the best beach
on the Island.
The High Street opens up into the Parade, a square set against the harbour
with a myriad of lanes behind it packed with pubs, restaurants, cafés,
galleries and a great fish shop.
Cross the square past the remains of attempts to plant trees this close
to the coast towards the Ruby Lounge and the chippy. Next to the chippy
is the only empty shop left in the Parade, Dave the tobacconist retired
after thirty-five years as a trader just last year. I miss him, and
the art set do too, because now they have to go an extra one hundred
paces from the pub to buy cigarettes. Perambulation comes to an end
next door at the Harbour Café Bar. You’ll find your letterbox,
fastened to the brick wall on the right as you walk in the door. Now
take on board some necessary sustenance.